Friday, September 23, 2011

CFP: Teaching, Women's Writing, Travelling Women

The following three calls for papers were announced in the latest email digest from The Middlebrow Network.

Teaching Tainted Lit: Popular American Fiction and the Perils and Pleasures of the Classroom

Essay contributions are sought for a volume entitled Teaching Tainted Lit: Popular American Fiction and the Perils and Pleasures of the Classroom, to be edited by Janet G. Casey. Taking as its premise the idea that popular fiction has secured a solid position in higher education classrooms, this collection seeks to explore its pedagogical implications. Possible topics may include:
  • unusual or insightful uses of the popular in the context of college English
  • historical or contemporary struggles over the teaching of popular texts
  • the politics and intersections of popularity and canonicity as they pertain to the classroom
  • anxieties and pleasures (on the parts of students and/or teachers) located in reading the popular
  • differences in attitudes about studying historical and contemporary popular texts
  • relations between teaching the popular and the perceived crisis in the humanities
  • teaching the American popular outside the U.S.
  • issues of publication and dissemination that affect teaching (e.g., working with magazines; problems associated with out-of-print materials).
Essays that focus on a particular text and its pedagogical ramifications are also welcome, especially if they put broader questions into play. Personal/anecdotal postures invited.  Please send a 300-word abstract and cv to by 15 Jan. 2012.  Invited essays will be due in late 2012.

Postgraduate Conference: The Popular and The Middlebrow: Women’s Writing 1880–1940
12 April 2012, Newcastle University.

Keynote Speaker: Professor Nicola Humble (Roehampton)

This event aims to bring together postgraduate researchers from across the UK and beyond to discuss the growing interest in and importance of the categories of the middlebrow and the popular as ways of engaging with women’s writing in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Both of these terms have become crucial ways of exploring the work of more marginalised female writers who were not directly involved in larger intellectual discourses such as Modernism or social realism, but who enjoyed a great deal of success during their own time. From the regency romances of Georgette Heyer to the crime fiction of Agatha Christie, from the muted socialist politics of Winifred Holtby to the witty asides of Molly Keane, the conference reasserts the importance of these women’s writing as part of a wider literary tradition. It encourages papers which both work with and interrogate the terms ‘popular’ and ‘middlebrow’ as well as those which choose to apply them to the work of a specific woman or group of women in order to challenge or consolidate their usage. It asks: do the terms still contain inherent value judgements? Are they problematic when applied to women’s literature? Or do they engender a challenge to preconceptions about women and literary history, allowing for a reconceptualization of notions of canonicity?
  • Possible topics include:
  • Women writers and the popular
  • Women writers and the middlebrow
  • Domesticity and the home
  • Place and landscape
  • War and politics
  • Queer fictions
  • Marginalised women writers
  • Violence
  • Women writing romance
  • Women and historical fictions
  • Women writers and science fiction
Proposals of no more than 300 words should be emailed to by 30 November 2011.

The conference has a website.

Moving Dangerously: Women and Travel, 1850-1950
13-14 April 2012, Newcastle University.

Keynote Speakers: Alexandra Peat (University of Toronto) and Avril Maddrell (University of the West of England)

The period between 1850 and 1950 is widely acknowledged to have been one of dramatic societal and cultural change, not least in terms of women’s experience of and relationship to travel. The rapid expansion of the travel networks both nationally and internationally towards the end of the nineteenth century coincided with the impact of first wave feminism, as the suffragette movement gathered momentum and the figure of the New Woman appeared. By 1950, new forms of technology and transport, and their widespread availability, had substantially altered women’s perception of and ability to travel.

This two-day international and interdisciplinary conference invites papers that explore the changing relationship of women and travel across key moments in modernity, such the First World War and its effects on women’s independence, the developments in British Imperial activity, and the boom in rail, air and sea travel. The conference aims to stimulate academic discussion on a range of topics relating to women and travel in the period ranging from 1850-1950. These topics include representations of women and travel in fiction and film, non-fictional portrayals and documentations, as well as archival work on first-hand accounts of women travellers. As such, we welcome papers from those working in the fields of Literature, History, Geography, Film and Media, Modern Languages, Gender/Women’s Studies, and Politics.

Potential paper topics might include considerations of: both published and unpublished travel-writings by women of the period; fictional accounts of travel written by women throughout the period; representations of women travellers in contemporary biography; representations of women and travel during the period in fiction and film, and the benefits of archival research into women and travel on contemporary understandings of women’s role in modernity.

Please send abstracts of 250 words for 20 minute papers to: by 30 November 2011.

The conference has a website.

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